May 07, 2006

Sunday Scriblings (about shoes)...

... my contribution to Sunday Scribblings:

I shed shoes wherever I go, always have and probably always will. Not that I have that many of them. To the contrary, I only have about ten pairs, five of which I wear on a regular basis. Plus, a third of the collection come from REI and another third from Goodwill or other thrift stores, so you can see exactly how much weight (or money) I place on my footware. Instead of the overly-done Sex In The City Manolo Blahnik way, or the no white after Labor Day and a pair for every outfit kind of way, my shoe dispersal patterns stem mainly from my urge to get them off as quickly as possible.

I am not anti-shoe in any way. I can appreciate the emphasis that the perfect shoe can oomph an outfit with. Shoes can make jeans dressy or sporty with the exact same shirt. And, unlike my youthful tomboy self, I can walk and even dance if necessary in high heeled shoes. Okay, I can do that in the three pairs I am used to, but every bit is progress. There is a certain pleasure in the snap of a shoe against a tiled or hardwood floor, especially in a work environment. That clackidy clack is not wholly power or elegance, though there are aspects of that in the staccato noise. To me, it can show that you are pulled together, prepared, and comfortable in your own skin. I have come a long way from highschool, when I wore out one pair after another of vibrantly colored Airwalks or Vans.

But when it comes down to it, even at work under the desk, the shoes come off. Sometimes even when driving, I push the ridged plastic pedals with only my bare toe pads. And you know what? A lot of that still comes from that rebellious teenaged tomboy who intentionally bucked the norm of powder puff and perfumed feminity. Always with short hair and a blunt sense of humor, I wanted other people to have to look closer, at a different angle, and with more tenacity to get a grasp of the real me. I didn't want to be summed up as whole of my wardrobe parts. I was out to find my own brand of womanhood from the start and only now that I am comfortable with my unique type of XX genetics do I feel comfortable integrating the high-heeled shoe back in.

Ironically, even with this feminist ranting, the shoe issue is still intrisically realted to beauty for me. See, I have always thought my foot to be rather pretty, well-shaped and cute. I hate manicures, but my toes are always painted. I love to see the wet prints of them by the side of the pool or even on the shower mat. I like that through years of yoga, I can now spread them out with each toe separate, my weight evenly spread and supporting the upward lift of my body--like the roots of a tree. In my barefoot quest, I once got a cactus spine in my heel pad (not a pleasant experience, I tell you) because I didn't want to find shoes before taking out the trash.

I helped The Boyfriend pick out a new pair of shoes yesterday. And he is going to toss out his one pair of old and out moded sandals, replacing them with these new ones. One in and one out. There is so much less social signifcance laid at men's feet, so to speak. So little frivolity or excess in the visage they are supposed to present for the rest of the world. So basic and clearly stated. We women are the peacocks of the species. There is no denying that. But I do believe that all women need to take a step back from the whole process--from facial masks, to support hose, or those red slingbacks waiting for a proper occasion to come out of hiding.

Sometimes it's okay to like your feet, and yourself, just the way they are. I think that gives you even more joy when they are all dolled up in cute little shoes. Like anything else in life, the exterior should only highlight and compliment what is naturally underneath. Hiding (whether from your past, from confrontation, or your insecurity behind a pair of Blahniks) never gets you anywhere.


Blogger paris parfait said...

Love the images and the tale about your shoes!

3:20 PM  
Blogger javacurls said...

Great images! Love the last paragraph of your story. It's so true.

5:05 PM  
Blogger JJ said...

Yeah, I hate wearing shoes, too. As a boy that meant lots of cuts, scrapes, thorns, burrs. As a grownup it means wearing topsiders as much as possible so I can kick them off at first chance.

And, yes, men have much lower shoe demands: brown, black, topsiders, and tennis/running shoes.

7:54 AM  

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